The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has issued new guidelines for departments to help them check cases of alleged corruption against judicial or quasi-judicial officers. Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the new norms casts an obligation on departments concerned to determine as to whether acts of such officers have been actuated by an oblique motive or corrupt practise.
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“A charge of misconduct against a judicial officer must be distinguished from a purely erroneous decision whether on law or on fact. “Since, direct evidence of corruption may not always be forthcoming in every case involving a misconduct, a wanton breach of the governing principles of law or procedure may well be indicative in a given case of motivated, if not reckless disregard of legal principle,” it said quoting the apex court verdict.
In the absence of cogent explanation, it is for disciplinary authority to determine whether a pattern has emerged on the basis of which and inference that an officer was actuated by extraneous considerations can be drawn, the direction reads. The disciplinary authority has to determine whether there has emerged from the record one or more circumstances that indicate that the decision which form the basis of the charge of misconduct was not an honest exercise of judicial power, the CVC said.
The anti-corruption watchdog has asked all Chief Vigilance Officers, who act as distant arm of the CVC to check corruption, to keep in mind these guidelines while examining alleged lapses or misconducts in respect of officials exercising quasi judicial functions or powers.